Sharm el-Sheikh [Egypt], November 20 (ANI): Signalling potential for major breakthrough at the climate summit, Negotiators at the UN's COP27 climate summit have reached a tentative agreement to establish a loss and damage fund for nations vulnerable to climate disasters.
Countries that are the most vulnerable to climate disasters and have contributed little to the climate crisis have struggled for years to secure a loss and damage fund, reported CNN.
If finalized, the deal would represent a major breakthrough on the international stage and far exceed the expectations of this year's climate summit, and the mood among some of the delegates was jubilant.
Developed nations that have historically produced the most planet-warming emissions have been hesitant to sign off on a fund they felt could open them up to legal liability for climate disasters, reported CNN.
But it's not yet settled - an EU source directly involved with the negotiations cautioned that the deal is part of the larger COP27 agreement that has to be approved by nearly 200 countries.
A US official declined to confirm the tentative deal, citing ongoing negotiations. The EU source said negotiators are now reporting back to their groups, reported CNN.
But progress has been made, the source said. In a discussion Saturday afternoon Egypt time, the EU managed to get the G77 bloc of countries to agree to target the fund to vulnerable nations, which could pave the way to a deal on loss and damage.
Details on how the fund would operate remain murky. The tentative text says a fund will be established this year, but it leaves a lot of questions on when it will be finalized and become operational, climate experts told reporters Saturday.
The text talks about a transitional committee that will help nail down those details, but doesn't set future deadlines, reported CNN.
"There are no guarantees to the timeline," Nisha Krishnan resilience director for World Resources Institute Africa told reporters.
Advocates for a loss and damage fund were happy with the progress, but noted that the draft is not ideal.
"We are happy with this outcome because it's what developed countries wanted - though not everything they came here for," Erin Roberts, founder of the Loss and Damage Collaboration, told CNN in a statement.
"Like many, I've also been conditioned to expect very little from this process. While establishing the fund is certainly a win for developing countries and those on the frontlines of climate change, it's an empty shell without finance. It's far too little, far too late for those on the frontlines of climate change. But we will work on it."At COP27 the demand for a loss and damage fund - from developing countries, the G77 bloc and activists - had reached a fever pitch, driven by a number of major climate disasters this year including Pakistan's devastating floods, reported CNN.
The conference went way into overtime on Saturday, with negotiators still working out the details as the workers were dismantling the venue around them. At points, there was a real sense of fatigue and frustration.
Earlier in the day, EU officials threatened to walk out of the meeting if the final agreement fails to endorse the goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, reported CNN.
Global scientists have for decades warned that warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees - a threshold that is fast-approaching as the planet's average temperature has already climbed to around 1.1 degrees.
Beyond 1.5 degrees, the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages will increase dramatically, scientists said in the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
In a carefully choreographed news conference Saturday morning, the EU's Green Deal tsar Frans Timmermans, flanked by a full line-up of ministers and other top officials from EU member states, said that "no deal is better than a bad deal.""We do not want 1.5 Celsius to die here and today. That to us is completely unacceptable," he said.
The EU made it clear that it was willing to agree to a loss and damage fund - a major shift in its position compared to just a week ago - but only in exchange for a strong commitment on the 1.5 degree goal, reported CNN. (ANI)